Sometimes I get the Collect/Process/Organize bug, the symptoms of which include endless tweaking of the collection tools, trying out new software for organizing the endless list of NAs and Projects, and generally not spending enough time on Reviewing and Doing. "Sometimes" might be and understatement.
One afternoon, I was at my desk checking out the latest PDA setup on GTD_Palm at Yahoo Groups, and lurking at this forum when I had an inspiration to complete ONE item on my NA list. I pulled out my @Laptop list, finished a company estimate for a project I'm handling, then checked off the item. That was satisfying.
Shortly after, I found myself twiddling around with ShadowPlan on my palm AGAIN, despite having the system already set up in Bonsai (both are PDA applications, by the way). And I realized that in the back of my head was a mob of voices clamoring for attention; a panicky one was telling me the pumpset I ordered for a project was overdue, a worried one was yelling that I needed to have a deep conversation with a family member over a conflict, and yet another reminding me that I needed to buy shaving cream.
And then something just clicked in my head. I wasn't getting anywhere! On an impulse I got the NA list out again, opened the @Laptop list, then knocked off 5 NAs in a row, quickly and efficiently. Then I moved on to the @Office list, then got rid of 3 NAs. Same thing for @Phone and @Network, sending emails and voice messages. I was on a roll!
I then realized that the only thing preventing me from "Getting" GTD, fully understanding it and trusting it, was the uncertainty that the system will truly help me. It was this uncertainty that drove me to keep downloading software for the PDA and my PC in hopes of finding the Silver Bullet.
The thing is, no system can help if in the end, we can't get ourselves to do the things we promised ourselves to do. Much of the stress coming from implementing GTD, I think, stems from Collecting, Processing and Organizing all the inputs in our lives, and failing to follow through, because in effect, we have made MORE promises to ourselves that we are not fulfilling.
To get past this obstacle, I think a leap of faith is in order, and just jump in. Dumb down! Trust that the decisions you've made during the Organizing phase are good enough. After emptying your inboxes for the Nth time today, pull out the NA list for the context that you're in right now, and do just ONE item on your list. Pick the next item that you have enough time and energy for, and do it. REVIEW, DO. Rinse and repeat!
Just a (long) confession from a former GTD "tweaker".